“Nuclear Denier”

Barry Brook just posted this tweet, with a  link to a pro-nuclear article by Prof. Leslie Kerneny in the Canberra Times that contains that particular sentence:

Given the emissions crisis, in 2013, it is just as foolish to be a ”nuclear denier” as a ”climate sceptic”:

I am not sure if that will help to convince many anti-nuclear voices that they should change their views. But what is a “nuclear denier” anyway? Would that be someone who denies the basic facts about nuclear, which would make sense when comparing to “climate sceptics”?

If so, wouldn’t that be someone who hopes against all available data that nuclear will contribute anything to solving the global climate crisis? Nuclear clearly is in decline. Nuclear is hopeless as a climate change solution. It would be highly irresponsible to base your strategy on the faint chances of changing that situation and hope for the nuclear bailout.

As I wrote in another related post:

At this point, denying that nuclear is a failed loser solution is about as realistic as denying that climate change is happening in the first place.

So, yes, I could easily agree with the above statement by Brook and Kerneny.

With the appropriate understanding of the term “nuclear denier”, that is.


Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

5 thoughts on ““Nuclear Denier”

  1. You don’t like nukes but CSP is ok? What happened to your we need everything stance regardless of the costs? Seem inconsistent given your grave concerns over GW.

    I’ve found the reason nukes have so much trouble has to do with their price tag and deployability. These are the same reasons CSP is having so much trouble. There are die hard nuclear supporters who think it’s the best thing in the world. They twist and turn to look at the data upsidedown and make excuses for all the cost overruns and so forth. At the end of the day the electricity just costs too damned much compared to all the other baseload options we have. The same is true of CSP. PV has soundly defeated CSP in terms of price and deployability and yet the supporters somehow manage to look at everything upside down.

    10 kW PV systems are currently priced at 1.5 Euro/Watt in Germany. These small systems in cloudy Germany produce electricity that is cheaper than drawing board GW sized CSP in plants in the sunniest locations on the planet.

    What’s not clear?


  2. What happened is that I read an unending stream of anti-renewable propaganda from Rod Adams, Barry Brook and other Fossil Nukes and concluded that nuclear power advocacy is not compatible with renewable energy advocacy, which is my main interest. What also happened is that I looked at the facts and found that nuclear is hopeless as a climate change solution. Renewable will have to do that job alone.

    As to CSP, I agree that PV is winning right now on cost, though one would need to factor in extra cost with PV for storage (built into CSP in the first place). But I also agree with the basic idea of the FiT system. Which is not to go just with the option that happens to be the cheapest at some point in time, but develop everything. It is exactly because Germany chose that policy that PV has come down in cost faster than anything else in the last decade.


    1. I regret that many pro-nuke end up attacking renewable so much.

      To be straightforward, I myself do believe they are some serious difficulties that make it very hard to deploy renewable at large scale, I could be wrong about that, but I don’t believe it’s because I’m prejudiced against renewable that I concluded that.

      But this changes absolutely nothing to the fact that it’s utterly counter-productive for pro-nuke to attack renewables.

      First even if you have doubts renewables are the most effective way to reduce CO2 emission, it’s undoubtedly one way of doing it, and it’s deeply unpleasant attitude to attack someone who’s trying to do good the way *he* feels is best.

      That’s a problem with pro-nuke, who are frequently people who value raw logic most, and therefore can easily be tempted to think that a solution that they feel is not the absolutely the best one, is worse nothing and should be brutally rejected.

      Second, of course when you do that, the pro-renewables will retaliate, this immediately result in each camp spending it’s time fighting the other, whilst the fossil industry is leaning back, enjoying the show, and signing contracts to build new plants.
      Which whatever way you see things, is the most disastrous result that could be achieved.

      However the context that should be given is also that there’s a large number of pro-renewables who spend an amazing amount of time attacking nuclear instead of attacking fossil power, whose speech about why we should use renewables starts with why nuclear is wrong, and accuse it of being the worst thing on earth without reading the OMS report about how little deaths can be attributed to nuclear, even including Fukushima, Chernobyl, and TMI, and what’s more important don’t read the other OMS reports of how many should be attributed to coal, it reaches into the one million a year.

      And many of those people also have a very defensive attitude where you absolutely can not mention one point where you feel renewables failed to deliver what was initially promised, without it been taken as an attack that means you are an ugly anti-renewable.
      When actually you can be fully pro-renewables, but still think that some renewable, in some case, don’t work very well, and that the best option would be another renewable.

      So at the very least, a non-aggression pact between pro-renewable and pro-nuke would be the very best thing.

      In fact, whilst I say at first that I was skeptical about very large scale renewable, in my opinion the best mix, that can be deployed at the cheapest price, so is more financially sustainable, would include a significant part of solar, at the current price of around 100€/MWh, not above !, would use thermal solar to have a carbon free heating that also doesn’t have the problem France currently meets in Winter (probably Seasonal thermal energy storage is here the appropriate solution http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_thermal_energy_storage_%28STES%29 ), and as much hydropower as physically possible. And wind is good as as long as you have enough hydropower to balance it’s production. The trouble with a lot of wind when you don’t have enough hydropower, is that you risk ending up “locking in” the fossil power you use to balance the production.


      1. Yes, it is unfortunate that pro-nuclear voices attack renewable energy so much. This only leads to increasing opposition to nuclear. Renewable is not going away, so it is not a wise strategy to make your pro-nuclear advocacy conditional on getting rid of renewable energy.

        You also have a point that pro-nuclear viewpoints get a lot of unfounded criticism. For the record, I still think that the dangers of radiation are not a big deal in the first place, and pale in comparison to the dangers from global warming.

        However, I don’t think that a “non-aggression pact” will happen anytime soon. It would be nice to get “all of the above”, but I am pessimistic now of that happening, in contrast to what I wrote in November 2011 under the title “The great war of currents”. Seems I was wrong then.



  3. At this point in time after Fukushima, 3 Mile Isl, etc, if you still support continuing this failed science experiment your learning curve is immense.
    Nuclear plants are expensive to build.
    Expensive to operate.
    There is still no sane waste disposal.
    And it’s really expensive to remove.
    As a business model it fails to produce a profit. It requires subsidies.
    From what I understand all our energy needs could be met with a blend of solar, geothermal & wind. In that order.
    So why are we still on this path and having this debate?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: